CHANGSHA, China – Troy Rosario watched forlornly as the final seconds of the Fiba Asia Championship with China already celebrating on the way to a 78-67 win over Gilas Pilipinas before a delirious home crowd at the Changsha Social Work Colleges gymnasium here.
As much as he wanted to be at midcourt and commiserate with the team, all he could do was watch from courtside as one of two reserves along with veteran Gary David in the roster of coach Tab Baldwin.
But he knows someday his time will come.
“Alam ko naman balang araw magiging part din ako ng team, sa tingin ko,” said the incoming Talk ‘N Text rookie.
As reserve, Rosario still got to practice with the team, travel with Gilas anywhere it went, and join his teammates in any other activities other than playing during games.
Still he felt blessed to have gone through the experience, which Troy knows will be beneficial for him in the near future.
“At least ngayon nagkakaroon na ako ng feel sa tournament na balang araw alam ko na ‘yung pakiramdam na nandito sa stage na ito,” said the power forward out of National University selected No. 2 overall in the last PBA draft.
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Rosario said he didn't mind being left out in the official Gilas 12-man rotation by coach Baldwin, who he said is like a father to him.
“Alam ko naman na para sa team ‘yung pagpili sa twelve. Masaya ako na kasama pa rin ako sa pool, masaya pa rin ako na may natutulong pa rin ako sa team kahit extra body lang sa practice,” he said.
Rosario already donned the national colors in 2010 as part of the Under-18 team handled by Eric Altamirano, who later became his coach at NU.
He confessed dreaming of becoming a part of the Gilas team two years ago when he got a chance to watch the nationals play Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Fiba Asia held in Manila.
“Nakikita ko rin ‘yung sarili ko na sana makalaro rin ako sa international stage,” added Rosario.
He almost did after being the last two players cut by Baldwin in Gilas’ final 12-man for this year’s Olympic qualifying meet.
Still, Rosario’s belief remains.
“Malay natin two or three years from now, masama na ako sa final 12,” he said.